The FTSE 100 edges nine ponts higher in early trading on Friday to 6,815 despite the UK's big supermarket chains heading the Footsie loser board in response to Tesco's (TSCO) new profit alert and dividend cut. The grocery giant tumbles 8.4% to 225.58p after issuing a second profits warning inside of a month and slasing its half-year payout by 75% to 1.16p per share. Full year profits guidance has been lowered again, to between £2.4 billion and £2.5 billion, implying a rough 28% slump year-on-year amid weak market conditions and the need to invest in its UK turnaround.
With Tesco on the rack, new CEO Dave Lewis is also being parachuted in a month early, with his starting date brought forward from October to Monday, 1 September. Shares flagged the possibility of a further Tesco profits warning in our recent look at the discount channel here.
Pan-European IT services supplier Computacenter (CCC) remains largely flat at 614.5p as higher first-half profits and a good UK performance are offset by ongoing challenges in France and Germany. The group's posts adjusted pre-tax profit in the six months to 30 June 6.8% to £28 million on a 2.2% revenue rise.
Design-led carpets manufacturer Victoria (VCP:AIM) jumps 11.1% to 200p as final results show a dramatic turnaround in fortunes under chairman Geoff Wilding. On broadly flat revenue of £71.4 million (2013: £70.9 million), losses of £960,000 were converted into £2.05 million of adjusted pre-tax profits and there's a dramatic reduction in net debt to report too.
Falling revenues and a plunge into the red for the year to March continues the serial disappointment trend at Zoo Digital (ZOO:AIM). Shares in the broadcasting software supplier crash 11% to 8.25p as investors sense a possible emergency cash call down the line with just $100,000 of cash on the books.
Industrial equipment hire firm Lavendon (LVD) is up close to 2% at 210p after a solid set of half-year results. Investment in its UK and Middle Eastern operations pays-off as it posts underlying earnings per share (EPS) up 8% at 5.21p for the six months to end-June. Lavendon has also refinanced its bank debt and issued private placement notes in the US, increasing its available financing facilities by £28 million to £61 million.
Recently-listed Exova (EXO) crashes more than 10% to 192.6p as it posts a 2.7% slide in half year revenues as sterling strength bites. Sales on constant currencies increased 4.4% but investors are left unsure over near-term prospects for the quality control and testing group. The shares listed in April at 220p.
Sterling strength also impacts textile rentals and laundry firm Berendsen (BRSN), slicing 2% off the share price to £10.66. Chairman Iain Ferguson says he expects good underlying progress for the full year but warns results are likely to continue to be impacted by the rally in the pound. EPS rises 10% to 23.1p in the six months to end-June.